It could be weeks before Mississauga sees the 18+ vaccination sites in hotspots
Limited resources and a shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine mean pop-up clinics and mobile units could be weeks away from delivering the valued medicine to those 18 years and older in Mississauga.
While Premier Doug Ford announced the program could go into effect immediately, logistical problems have created a headache for healthcare professionals in Mississauga who are trying to make good on a promise that they weren’t prepared for. Complicating the matter is that the pop-ups and mobile units will operate separately from the program currently run by Peel Public Health through the mass clinics that are only vaccinating people over the age of 60.
The confusing situation has led to jammed phone lines and crashed websites and left some scratching their heads and others wondering what exactly is going on.
As well, the short supply of vaccine means the wishful thinking of politicians and the desires of an eager public searching for a COVID-19 cure are at the mercy of all procurement deals negotiated by the Federal government. Once again, supplies are running low.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has tried to shed some light on the situation saying the public - rightfully so - doesn’t understand that essentially two programs are now in place to deliver the vaccine.
“This is confusing for everyone,” Crombie told insauga.com “We’ve been given a very difficult task.”
She said the clinics and mobile units will be run by The Trillium Health System that is supposed to deliver the vaccine to hotspot areas in Mississauga, areas that include a large portion of the city.
However, unlike Toronto which has several hospital systems and where the 18+ program is already underway, the mayor pointed out Mississauga only has one hospital system (serviced by three sites Mississauga Hospital, Credit Valley Hospital and Queensway Hospital in Etobicoke) and not enough manpower to get it operational right away.
“We’re not in a position to deliver the pop-up clinics run by the hospitals just yet,” said the mayor. “We have one hospital to address all of the 18+ population in the hotspots, so you can see right there we are going to have a challenge. We are going to have a big challenge. We have one hospital and they have a dozen hospitals in Toronto, it’s quite different.”
She said while the hospital system is working on deployment and hopes that it will be operating “soon” she admitted she doesn’t know when “soon” will be acknowledging we could be days or weeks away from getting the vaccine out to this group.
Crombie believes Queen’s Park had good intentions when announcing that the 18+ crowd would be eligible for the vaccine, but Provincial officials didn’t make clear it would operate separately from the mass clinics as well as only being made available to those in hotspots.
“However it cannot be executable in that format, at least not here,” the mayor said. “It can be done in Toronto because it has many more hospitals and some that are not as challenged as we are.”
Crombie said City staff is getting inundated with calls and emails from the public wanting to know how to register and want to know why they just can’t go to one of the mass vaccination sites.
“It just doesn’t work that way,” said the mayor. “There is still a lot of work to be done.”
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